Author Archives: Joel D. Hirst

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).

Things Are Cyclical, and We Are Alone

Ideas move slowly, and then suddenly they move fast. Un-ideas are the same, transmitting emptiness – nihilism it was called, and still is. It was the cause of Hitler’s Germany, and those same ideas permeate American philosophy today. Ugliness sold … Continue reading

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I Should Be Writing My Armenia Book

Originally posted on Joel D. Hirst's Blog:
This essay represents a failure, not complete for I remain optimistic but certainly a success deferred. I should be writing my Armenia novel. Each passing day, it gets a little harder. My…

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Our Empty Future

In 383 A.D. when the Roman legions pulled out of their centuries old occupation of the British Isle, there were about 3.6 million people living in England south of Hadrian’s wall. Four hundred years later, when at last people started … Continue reading

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Christmas Holiday – By Maugham

Just like there are places that we stumble upon and are struck by the sudden reality that we have found a home for our hearts, and it is elsewhere, so to times. Some people pine for the old American West, … Continue reading

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Afghanistan National Institute of Music

A year and a half ago I was caught up in a wild effort to spirit the Afghanistan National Institute of Music from Kabul. For days while HKIA (the airport) was protected by US Marines, and besieged by panicked mobs … Continue reading

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Our Fear Society

Twenty years ago I marched into Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, copy of Natan Sharansky’s “The Case for Democracy” under my arm, determined to be part of that epic fight of democracy vs. tyranny. Bush called it the “Freedom Agenda”. Sharansky’s was … Continue reading

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Wars of Nostalgia

Things move slowly, for a long time, and then very fast. Europe has long become a museum to its own past; which is why we love it. We walk the cobblestone streets; dine in the ancient taverns under empty castles … Continue reading

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Our Cosmic System

Science fiction movies portray the discovery of extra-terrestrial life often as a slimy goo, a microscopic bacteria in an asteroid. Either that or an advanced interstellar civilization bent upon conquest. Believing there are aliens out there is a release, an … Continue reading

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Review of “The Biggest Ideas in the Universe”

I have been struggling, as a ‘layperson’ for a while now trying to wrap my head around how the universe functions. And, beyond that, if there is some great master design that we just can’t see or if we are … Continue reading

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Aleksandr Pushkin

I have a little porcelain statue of Pushkin I bought at an antique shop in Yerevan, featuring a young curly-headed Aleksandr with a plume pen writing upon a round table. It is from the Soviet period, made in the Lemonosov … Continue reading

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